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What Is an ATV Radio?

By Lori Kilchermann
Updated: May 23, 2024

An all-terrain vehicle (ATV) radio is an electronic device designed to withstand a rugged ride and remain operational in a wide variety of conditions. The ATV radio typically employs special mounting to absorb vibration and uses a specially-designed case to protect the radio from weather, mud and dirt as the ATV is operated off-road. To avoid submerging the ATV radio in water, the designers mount the unit high on the vehicle's roll cage where it will most likely remain above the water when a rider forges a stream. Some of the pricier ATV radio designs incorporate a compact disc (CD) player in the radio unit as well.

Some ATV owners choose to listen to music while parked or while riding leisurely down a trail. These owners commonly install an ATV radio to provide the melodic notes and news that they are seeking. Installing an ATV radio with a set of all-weather stereo speakers can provide the entertainment the owners are seeking from their ATVs. Some deluxe versions of the ATV radio not only include a radio/CD player, but a Citizens' Band radio into the base unit as well. This feature allows the operator to communicate with other riders, a base camp and emergency personnel while traveling off-road.

Installation of the radio unit onto the ATV is a fairly straightforward process. The radio commonly comes with a mounting kit that includes a mounting bracket, wiring harness and antenna. A useful tip is to mount the radio as high as is practical on the vehicle's chassis, commonly on an upper roll cage horizontal bar. This protects the radio from becoming submerged in water should the ATV ever attempt to ford a deep water stream. It is also extremely important to mount the radio where it will not come into contact with the operator or passenger's heads if operating the ATV on rough terrain.

For the best reception, the antenna should also be mounted high on the vehicle, and the rear roll cage offers the best location, in most cases. Speakers often give the best performance when mounted near the heads of the operator and passengers. The weatherproof speakers commonly come in a mounting box that not only protects the speakers from the elements, but the mounting box also acts to protect the speakers from the harsh operating characteristics of the ATV when operating on rough, off-road trails. The ATV radio is typically wired into a fused port on the vehicle's fuse block or directly into the ignition switch, although this method can sometimes result in a buzzing sound when the engine is running.

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